Maldives has been urged to put in place measures to handle internal displacement caused by climate change and natural disaster.

Chaloka Beyani, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs) stressed the need for a law on disaster risk reduction and urged the Maldivian Parliament to enact the disaster management law that has been pending.

“Climate change is very real in the Maldives and its effects on rights, including the right to housing, safe water and livelihoods, are being felt on many islands… The suffering caused by coastal erosion, salination, rising sea levels, and more frequent storms and flooding is all too obvious to be ignored… It is also essential to put in place climate change induced displacement preparedness measures applying a human rights-based approach, and mechanisms for the participation of affected communities…” said the independent United Nations human rights expert.

At the same time, he stressed the need for policy and legislation that addresses internal displacement, consisting those that result from climate change. Mr Beyani said that in the event of internal displacement, affected people will need protection and assistance in finding ‘durable’ solutions.

He added that the lessons learned from the internal displacement caused by the 2004 Tsunami should be incorporated into future legislation and policies. Mr. Beyani has been on a six day mission to the Maldives. The full report on his visit will be presented in March 2012.